Boat maintenance in exotic locations, haul out, anti-foul and repairs in Kudat. 28August to 08 October.

There is only so many times you want to get underneath a boat and scrape off the critters that like attaching themselves to your floating home and after three months of the weekly ritual of cleaning the water line and detaching barnacles, the long overdue haul-out had to happen. The plan had been to get the boat up way back in Thailand or at least Langkawi, but better things to do beckoned along the way. Kudat had been recommended by a lot of the passing yachtie throng so up we were, once again fulfilling the oft quoted adage; cruising = boat maintenance in exotic locations. Of course it hadn’t helped that back in Johor the lads from Danga Bay who scraped the equivalent of Minerva Reef off the bottom used their razor sharp scrapers with so much enthusiasm that along with the boats personal, marine, ecosystem they scraped off most of the remaining anti-foulant.

One of the ongoing dilemmas with cruising is prioritising the multitude of jobs that need to be done, (hmm how important is that, will we sink?). The usual way is to cross jobs off the top of the list as you add more tasks to the bottom, in other words it never stops. So there we were, sanding, epoxy painting, anti-fouling, new skin-fittings, painting, sealing chain lockers, etc etc, the usual life of the intrepid sailor, same jobs, different country, interesting yard.

Sand blasting!!!!

The yard in this case was, Penuwasa, run by the local Chinese and set up for the local fishing fleet; big travel-lift, outdoor workshop, clouds of sand from the very noisy sand-blasting, lots of rubbish, the resident pack of dogs, dirt/mud to walk/splash around in, ladders that are designed to terrify and a symphony of chain saws.  The standard tools here for the shipwrights are adze (sort of a chisel/axe combined), an electric plane and a good chain saw, but they are very good with those chain saws. This is big timber repairs and with a sharp chain-saw they can cut their chosen pieces of rain-forest to absolute perfection, spectacular really. The pack of dogs was great and of course, like usual, for a while there one of them adopted Trevor and the Gadfly. During the day and in the heat (and it is hot in that yard) the dogs generally loitered and slept on their own underneath the various boats, then about an hour before dusk they formed up for the pack thing. The community here is of course mainly Moslem and there is a mosque about 100 metres from the yard with call-to-prayer five times a day. The most interesting was the dawn call and when the singing/call started from the mosque the dogs each time responded with unified howling.

That Mosque.

It took about two weeks to finish the multitude of jobs with the only real source of anxiety being the sand blasting that started thirty metres away, just when Trevor was trying to get all the paint back on the bottom of the boat. The big trawler they were trying to resurrect had all the appearance of having just been hauled off the bottom of the Sulu Sea and the lip service to preventing clouds of sand wafting about the yard was about as effective as wearing slippers to keep your feet dry in a rain storm. Every afternoon when the wind changed the boat took on the look of having just crossed the Great Sandy Desert.

The work continued once back in the water with repairs and painting on deck, rigging repairs, fixing instrument problems, the usual stuff. On the eighteenth Trevor flew back to Aus for a visit and on October 6 flew back with bags of boat parts and (can you believe it), cheese cultures that Amanda had ordered from somewhere and had delivered to his mother; this of course then required an ongoing availability of refridgerators and freezers. On the sixth new crew arrived in the form of Geoff from Perth and Anna from Spain; Geoff is originally from Wales now enjoying the life of sun and surf in SW Australia while Anna is currently running her own restaurant in Guatemala. On the morning of the eighth we pulled our anchors out of the mud in the lagoon and headed out for places south.

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